Catalonia conflict: Spain’s government relies on force and pressure

Human rights activists warn against suspension of autonomy: the bridges between Catalonia and Spain must not be burned! (Press Release)

Many Catalans are against the founding of an independent state, but they want to maintain autonomy at all costs. Photo: Ivan McClellan via Wikimedia Commons

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) has warned the Spanish government not to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy on short notice. “If the Spanish government decides to act on its threats to suspend the autonomy of the region in response to Catalonia’s independence efforts, the bridges between the Catalans and Spain will be burnt. Exerting force and pressure can’t make up for credible efforts to find a compromise solution,” explained Ulrich Delius, the director of the STP, in Göttingen on Monday. In an interview with the daily newspaper “El Pais” this weekend, Spain’s Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, had not ruled out a suspension of Catalonia’s autonomy status in case the dispute about the future of the region continues to escalate.

“The mass demonstration by opponents of Catalonia’s independence in Barcelona should not be overestimated: a large majority of the Catalans would consider being deprived of their autonomy as an attack on their identity,” said Delius. “Many Catalans are against the founding of an independent state, but they want to maintain autonomy at all costs.”

With a suspension of Catalonia’s autonomy, the Spanish government would not only lose authority and prestige in Catalonia, but would also fuel the conflict. In addition, this would reinforce the impression that Rajoy is against any form of autonomy – and that he is looking for reasons to give the Spanish government more power. “The Catalans have not forgotten that Rajoy had systematically blocked all attempts to initiate a reform of the existing statute of autonomy over the last few years, which is one of the main reasons for the Catalan people’s demands for more independence.

Header photo: Ivan McClellan via Wikimedia Commons